How to start traveling, Part One:¬ 3 Ways to Travel in your Hometown
Two years ago, I sat in my apartment¬†staring at the different shades of the leaves of the New England Fall. I looked at the wind furling one of the leaves. I thought I want to travel but where do I go. And, more importantly, I had a few butterflies in my stomach asking me exactly how do I plan to take the leap and travel alone. So, you have been itching to pack the bags and travel to some exotic otherworldly place on this planet. But, you are still considering the location or wondering if you could do it alone.
First Ever Solo Trip Guide
So where do you start? How do you plan a solo trip? Here are some suggestions for you to experience travel closer to home:
- 60 Leagues Away: Go to Google Maps and find any city, town or village within 60 km (1 hour) from where you are. 60 km is a safe distance for your first solo trip.
1.1¬†What’s in the name: Search what is the meaning of the name of your destination. It might¬†reveal some interesting details
1.2¬†History of the place: Quick googling will reveal the history of your destination. This will help you understand the town
- Find Public Transportation: Check your transportation options to get there. Preferably take public transportation rather than driving there
- Wk’end Bright & Early: Check out of your comfort zone this Saturday or Sunday and head to your travel destination, let’s call it paraiso¬ from hereon
- Take a camera (phone works) and a diary
- A window to the world:¬†The beauty of a solo trip is that you get a lot of me time. Look out of the window and note the transition in landscape, houses, the road, and any other thing that looks different from your town. Share the transitions in the comments section
- The roads diverge: From here on our paths will diverge. Based on your selection, paraiso might be a city, a town or a village. I have written 5 travelesque things to do in each locale. So read along based on your choice, compa√Īero
A. What to do in a City?
- Go to the market: First things first, visit the local city market to grab a breakfast. Observe the things on sale in the market. If you see something strange, buy it ;). Let us know what is it and how it tastes
- Next stop Museum: Check out the local city museum. It will reveal a thing or two about the city or the region that will be worth penning down
- Blue collar lunch: Find a place where the blue collar workers eat lunch. Given it is a weekend, the place will be less busy. Chat with the owner or the waiter about the workers, their work, and life. Aah and also try to get a story or two out of them about some peculiar characters
- Observe the architecture: Look with a keen eye at the houses, buildings, religious places, parks etc. See if you observe any pattern or peculiarity. Things to look out for – color, structure material, gates, windows, landscape etc
- Attend an event at a cafe: Most big cities these days have cafes hosting musicians, poets, story-tellers and other artists. Check online or ask the locals. Attending a cafe event gives a very unique insight into the intelligentsia of the city
B. What to do in a Town?
- Break the fast, fast: Ask the locals for a good place for breakfast. Weekend breakfast at diners, inns, and cafes is usually a family or friendly affair. Observe the locals as they enjoy breakfast with their loved ones. Aah, and don’t forget to order some local delicacies while you are there. Food might just be the highlight of your solo trip.
- Go to the local library: Ask the librarian about some interesting things to do in the town and for books about the town
- Check out the downtown: Small town downtowns always have a quaintness. A small temple or a rustic church. Chai stalls, ice-cream shops, street vendors, and street performers. Grab a bench or a sidewalk table and observe the people
- Go to the playground: There is always a game of cricket or a bout of soccer going on small towns. Try to capture some photos or even better participate in the sport
- Visit a local park: Check out the town park either early in the morning or around sunset
C. What to do in a Village
- Talk to the locals: Conversations with the locals is what makes travel memorable. And, villagers have wisdom to share that even books lack. So sip a cutting chai or share a bidi, Che and talk to the locals
- Visit the farms: Most villages are starkly different than the cities nowadays. Us city-folks are moving further and further away from our food. So take some time and visit the farms, learn about the crops, harvest-cycles, farm animals and farmer lifestyle
- Visit a place of worship: Try to go to a religious procession like church mass or temple aarti. You will experience the amalgamation of the whole village. I hear you, I am an atheist too. But, I go just for the experience
- Click some bird’s away: Villages tend to have some sort of birdlife. Take photos of these birds. Either you will find them in the farms or they will be active in the skies close to sunset
- Take photos of the farm animals: Capture the relationship between the farmer and his flock. The farm animals provide very heartwarming photos as they act as the chain between men and nature
Do share your experiences in comments. And, if you would like to add some other tips on how one can travel near one’s home, please mention them in the comments section below.